Paddle boarding is undoubtedly one of fastest growing recreational sports in the United States and it now seems like everyone wants a paddle board for their upcoming summer vacations. Because of this many people are considering purchasing a paddle board. Which you definitely can do! But if you are handy with tools, why not consider saving yourself a few dollars and building your own paddle board! Because many people are wanting to learn how to make a paddle board, our team decided to put together this step-by step guide to show you how you can make your own paddle board.
What You Need To Do Before Making A Paddle Board?
Before you start to look into getting all the supplies needed to build your paddle board, you need to do preliminary research on what all is required to build a good SUP.
To start off you will need to understand that this is a time-consuming process and you need to have some basic DIY skills and must have some basic tools to work with.
Also, you will need to ensure that the paddle board has these important mechanics:
You need to ensure that the SUP that you are building has the right kind of balance required so that you are able to stand firmly while paddling.
The SUP that you are building needs to have the required buoyancy required for the paddle board to float smoothly.
Consider making the SUP with a design that is hydrodynamically viable which can cut through the waters with ease.
Ensure you build one with enough surface area so that you have room for everything you need onboard.
Make sure you use materials of the highest quality always so that your SUP comes out as a durable one and lasts very long.
Let us now look at what supplies you need to make a paddle board.
What Supplies Do You Need To Make A Paddle Board?
Making a paddle board is not a very complicated process as one may think it to be. You can make a diy paddle board made to suit all of your needs, while not being too heavy on your pocket.
In order to do so, you may need to learn or use some basic skills involving woodworking that can make your job easier. The instructions given in this piece are easy and pretty simple to follow. Whether you are a beginner or someone who is an expert craftsman, you can use these simple instructions to build a paddle board that will serve all your purposes.
To make a paddle board you would need the following few things:
2. Woodworking Tools
Materials Required To Make A Paddle Board
The materials that you can use may include the following. However, do not limit yourself to procure materials that you think can add to the aesthetics and the functionality of your paddle board. Here’s the list:
- A few long rigid sheets of EPS foam with 2″ thickness.
- 1/4″ plywood for making the deck.
- Fiberglass (if you choose not to use plywood).
- An ample number of acrylic adhesive tubes.
- Plastic trowel to spread the adhesive uniformly.
- Orbital sander or wood rasp.
- Weights to flatten the surface while the glue is drying.
Woodworking Tools For Making A Paddle Board
Tools such as a saw cutter, Claw Hammer, Chisels, Mortice Chisels, Hand Saws, knives, etc may be required to work on the wood when the cutting and shaping of the plywood is done.
Time To Make The SUP
Needless to say for your SUP building project, you need to set aside some ample amount of time. You need to ensure the work is done carefully and properly without any rush or hurry so that the SUP that you are building is built well. You need to understand that the whole thing may not be done in one day. As such the best practice is to divide the entire process into phases and take up one phase at a time.
Each of the phases may take up to three hours if you had no previous woodworking experience. Most of the paddle boards can be built using simple steps that we are about to mention. If you are however someone who is a pro at woodworking, you can give a unique look to your paddle board to showcase your personality and flaunt it to the world. Before you start with the project, make sure you have everything you need – the materials, the woodworking tools, the SUP design plans for your respective weight range.
How To Make A Paddle Board
Once you have made sure you have everything handy and in order, you can commence the project. Let us now walk you through the various phases of the project one by one.
Phase 1: The Bottom Panel
The first step is to create the bottom panel of your paddle board. Making the bottom panel is similar to making a surfboard. In this phase, you need to take the long polystyrene foam sheet that you had bought. Make sure the foam sheet is of the thickness specified that is 2″ or 3″ for a better height when on water.
Check your SUP plans that you may have obtained online or from a surfboard store near you. Draw an outline like that of a paddle board base with the required tapering and a gradual curve towards the front. Once you have drawn the exact shape of the paddle board base that you need, you can then cut the same with a 10-inch hand saw. Follow the outline while making the cuts. Usually, the saw will cut very smoothly through the EPS smooth so this would be effortless.
You can use a couple of these foam sheets to get the required contouring and height. You can then bend both of these matched panels on top of several risers that can accurately match the contouring of the final paddle board and the rocker.
Phase 2: Making the Frame
The next step is to make the frame of the board. You need to keep in mind that the basic shape of the entire frame. Making the basic frame involves putting two or three sheets of foam together. In the center of the frame thus created to insert wooden dowels at the center area for some extra strength and durability. To stick the foam sheets together, use the acrylic adhesive and spread it evenly using the plastic trowel bought. Make sure the adhesive is adequately applied and properly spread as the bonding between the sheets is going to be decisive in ensuring that the finished paddle board has the strength and the durability you need.
Make use of heavy weights to compress the foam well so that they stick well together for better bonding. You can use heavy lead weights for this purpose or sand tubes. Place these weights on top and throughout the edges to ensure that the two halves stick properly. Leave the foam sheets with the weights on them this way overnight.
Phase 3: Paddle Board Rocker Table
Make sure you use a rocker table. This rocker table can be used to set the rocker and the bottom contours. The design of the board includes a lot of minute details that go under the top panel. Once the plan of the board is finalized, a jig may be used to ensure the right shape is achieved. The use of a rocker table will ensure that the bottom skin of the board is held at the right position. The rocker table provides a very stable base on which the paddle board can be built.
The paddle board thus built will remain supported on the table through the entire duration of the paddle board building process. The use of a rocker table ensures the finished paddle board is straight and of the right shape.
Make sure the paddle board is well sculpted. Use a long razor to sculpt the board. Slice away the extra foam and remove the thin slices of foam from all sides to get the required symmetrical shape. Once the basic shape of the board is obtained, make the curves using the orbital sander. This could be a pretty messy job but this is required to make sure the paddle board does not sink.
Phase 4: Build The Paddle Board Rails
The rails are made from cover strips and stacking bead that is of 1/4 inch X 3/8 inch one bead at a time. These rails made from strips have a lot of benefits as compared to SUPs that are built using solid rails. These trips that are being used are much more flexible and are easier to bend. You may need to bend a few strips and this can be done using steam. You may use the steam iron that you use to iron your clothes. You can do this by applying steam to each of the strips for a few minutes.
Since now bend the rails to the desired shape to obtain the required hydrodynamic functionality.
Phase 5: SUP Solid Blocking
Once the rails have been successfully done, the next phase is to cut off the nose and tail sections for the purpose of solid blocking. Solid blocking prevents the need for steam bending to obtain precise radial curves. This also helps in obtaining a professional look for the paddle board. Solid blocking ensures that your paddle board is provided with a beautiful look, thereby providing super smooth transitions at the nose and the tail.
Solid blocking also is a helpful phase that allows for some extra space under the hood for things like a fin box to support the fins, a leash cup to fasten the leash to, and the place for a vent before the top panel is added. You can augment the strength of the paddle board by using additional solid blocks made of either foam or wood for internal blocking.
Phase 6: Adding the Paddle Board Top Surface or Top Panel
Now that the body is almost ready, it is time to add the top panel of the paddle board. To do this you can either use plywood or fiberglass. Using plywood is beneficial from a functional and strength perspective but if you use fiberglass you would add a more pristine and flashy look to the top surface.
Plywood is better as a top surface as it is tough and more resilient. However, make sure the top is finished off with a coating of polyurethane so that the wood can be protected from water. The entire plywood top needs to be well coated before fixing it to the foam board. Once the wood is coated well in polyurethane it lends a flashy plastic look to it which once fixed to the board lends a flashy look. Make use of the plastic trowel again to spread the glue well before fixing the top panel. Fix the panel to the board and leave it overnight for the glue to dry.
When using the fiberglass material, you will need to cover the board with fiberglass cloth and coat the board with epoxy resin. Epoxy resin sets really fast so when working with it, you will need to be very fast. One great advantage of epoxy resin is that you can give a desired hue and color to your board. You just need to order a desired liquid color pigment with the resin to give it the desired color.
Typically a couple of layers of resin should be enough. But ensure that the extra bumps and lumps on the surface and between the coats are sanded away. Add extra layers of fiberglass and resin wherever required such as the nose and the rails to give it the desired strengths.
Phase 7: Paddle Board Glassing or Laminating
Once you have obtained the plywood or the fiberglass board from Phase 6, it is time to laminate the whole board. This is to ensure the entire board is protected well while in the water. The glassing or laminating process begins with giving a hot coat to the entire board. This ensures that every part of the board is filled well with the coat. The next step now involves adding a coat of gloss to provide your paddle board a shiny and glossy look. You can browse through a lot of finish options and select the one that best suits your project.
The best part about a DIY SUPs is the fact that you can give it the desired look, feel, and color hues at these finishing stages.
Phase 8: Adding Paddle Board Accessories
The last phase involves providing all the attachments, and extras that make the paddle board fully functional. By extras and attachments we mean the handles, D rings on the surface if required, fins, feet grip mats, and bungee cords to tuck in your accessory bag and luggage. Apart from that, you can use paint of your choice and stencils to create the required designs or logos you want to personalize the board.
You can even build your own paddles using wood handles, however, getting them from a SUP shop near you is the best. You can easily get an adjustable handle paddle as well. Based on your preference you can get one for your paddle board.
The Homemade Paddle Board Results
So after following all the above steps or phases the paddle board that you obtained is a completely waterproof, easy to maneuver and handle, and a perfectly buoyant paddle board. The choice of material is yours, wooden or fiberglass – but as mentioned earlier the wooden paddle board is definitely going to fare better.
Now that we have successfully built a paddle board let us quickly answer some frequently asked questions that you may have.
Final Thoughts On Making A Paddle Board
To summarize, though paddle boarding is an excellent sport, it is not always a great idea to purchase one as they are pretty expensive. Especially, for absolute beginners or occasional paddlers, building a paddle board is a great idea.